A Constitutional Conversation

A Constitutional Conversation

I want to interrupt our Copenhagen focus to briefly flag a conversation that’s on-going over at EJIL: Talk!  My Temple Law colleague, Jeff Dunoff, along with Joel Trachtman (The Fletcher School) recently put out a new work–Ruling the World? Constitutionalism, International Law and Global Governance (Cambridge, 2009), which is the focus of EJIL’s latest on-line symposium.  Here’s a description of the book project in brief:

Ruling the World?: Constitutionalism, International Law, and Global Governance provides an interdisciplinary analysis of the major developments and central questions in debates over international constitutionalism at the UN, EU, WTO, and other sites of global governance. The essays in this volume explore controversial empirical and structural questions, doctrinal and normative issues, and questions of institutional design and positive political theory. Ruling the World? grows out of a three-year research project that brought twelve leading scholars together to create a comprehensive and integrated framework for understanding global constitutionalization. Ruling the World? is the first volume to explore in a cross-cutting way constitutional discourse across international regimes, constitutional pluralism, and relations among transnational and domestic constitutions. The volume examines the core assumptions, basic analytic tools, and key challenges in contemporary debates over international constitutionalization.

The EJIL Talk! symposium has so far featured posts by Dunoff and Trachtman along with one of the contributing authors, Mattias Kumm (New York University/Harvard); two other contributors, Andreas Paulus (Gottingen) and Neil Walker (Edinburgh Law School), are also scheduled to post at some point.  Meanwhile, EJIL Talk! brought in some outside commentators with posts so far by David Schneiderman (University of Toronto) and Nico Kirsh (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin); future contributions are anticipated from Robert Howse (New York University) and Gráinne de Búrca (Fordham/NYU).  It’s a pretty rigorous and thoroughly thoughtful conversation.  So, if you need a break from what’s not happening in Copenhagen, check it out.

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G. M. Beresford Hartwell

Response… There is nothing original in the isea of transendental Natural Law – surely the foundation (and only true source) of any valid International Law – “There is a true law, a right reason, conformable to nature, universal, unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose prohibitions restrain us from evil. Whether it enjoins or forbids, the good respect its injunctions, and the wicked treat them with indifference. This law cannot be contradicted by any other law, and is not liable either to derogation or abrogation. Neither the senate nor the people can give us any dispensation for not obeying this universal law of justice. It needs no other expositor and interpreter than our own conscience. It is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens; one thing to-day and another to-morrow; but in all times and nations this universal law must for ever reign, eternal and imperishable. It is the sovereign master and emperor of all beings. God himself is its author,—its promulgator,—its enforcer. He who obeys it not, flies from himself, and does violence to the very nature of man. For his crime he must endure the severest penalties hereafter, even if he avoid the… Read more »